Used Video Games: Yay or Nay?

Posted: April 5, 2012 by vindanton in Video Games

By: Jason Green

Picture this: you walk into your local GameStop with the intent of buying a video game. You see the game you want but it comes in both a new version, priced at $60; and a used version, priced at $50. Which one would you choose?

The majority of gamers would likely choose the used version and being cost conscious is not a bad thing to be in today’s economy. However, used game sales are actually hurting game developer’s profits. When a used game is purchased the money goes to the store itself and not to the actual developer.

According to, buying used games is almost as bad as piracy. That might be a harsh statement but if you think about it, the developers aren’t getting anything for the game they just made if you buy it used, so it seems along the same lines as piracy.

Even Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said; “We don’t believe used games are in the best interest of the consumer. We have products that consumers want to hold onto. They want to play all of the levels of a Zelda game and unlock all of the levels. A game like Personal Trainer Cooking has a long life. We believe used games aren’t in the consumer’s best interest.”

To combat this, there are rumors that the next round of consoles are going to have a way to tell if the game you have is used and you would not be able to play it. It would work similar to how CD keys work for PC games in that it would only be tied to your system and no others.

Some games such as Uncharted 2 and 3 require online pass codes to play multiplayer and that is something you can only get with a new game. Similar games also have promotional codes that only come with new copies as well. Also, there’s the talk that consoles will go fully digital in the future which would obviously eliminate used copies altogether. Services such as Steam and OnLive are already fully digital.

On the flip side, buying used games is obviously more wallet friendly and stores like GameStop need money to stay in business.

Personally I am unsure as to how I feel on this subject. I am guilty of buying a used game here and there simply because of the price difference, but I know that the developers need money for the games they make, and I also know GameStop and stores similar need a share as well. It’s a complicated matter. Let me hear your opinion! 

  1. Recently, I’ve taken to buying brand new copies of video games. This means that I buy games less often, but I make certain that the games I do buy are of the highest quality and have been produced by companies I want to support. With games I am less certain about or are old and hard to find, I usually end up buying used copies on websites like or

    However, to automatically say that buying used video games equates to piracy is a little extreme. If that is the case, should we say the same for buying used books or movies?

    • vindanton says:

      The Movie industry is definitely injured by piracy. The moviegoers want to complain about how expensive DVD’s or movie tickets are…you are forcing that industry to do something unfavorable to the public by taking money out of their pockets. So I do not blame company’s at all for thinking about these changes because they need money. If you guys rip them of their money, they can’t make the games you love. While piracy may see a bit extreme, it is necessarily comparable to the point Jason is trying to make…thanks for the read and come back soon!

  2. Goddy says:

    I am always against buying used video games. I had a bad experience one time and it was enough to ruin it for me for life. The only time I will buy a used game is if it is an older game and finding a new one would be either next to impossible, or not worth the money that someone is asking for

  3. jasonmgreen says:

    Developers try all that they can to stop gamers from trading in their games, and being sold as used. With the promotional codes I mentioned, and deep, engaging multiplayer as found in Call of Duty. Saying it’s equal to piracy is extreme, yes, but there has to be some comparison especially if developers are taking great lengths to phase out used games much like they’re trying to stop piracy.

  4. awsnow says:

    I like to buy used games. Only reason why is if I dont like the game I can come and trade it back in or get my money back. If you buy a new game and dont like it and try to return it you will get less than have your money back. I will say there are some games I will get new because I have pre ordered them.

  5. Megan says:

    I go back and forth on buying used games. Sometimes I definitely want to buy that new game, hear the plastic rustle as I excitedly open it in anticipation for the game ahead. And sometimes I dont want to drop 60 bucks. I think that maybe used games should not just go back to the game store they are sold at, that some profit should go towards the developers. Either way, as a student, I can’t always purchase new games so sometimes used is the only way to go.

    • jasonmgreen says:

      I’m right there with ya. I have purchased used games before, but after uncovering all this info about how it hurts developers, it’s a real eye opener.

  6. Gina says:

    I really enjoyed reading the article, partially because it was well-written, and also because it’s definitely such a torn event in the gaming world. Probably far far in the past, back before I had a job, I probably bought a used game or two. But now that I’ve got my own money, I think it’s completely worth buying the game completely new. I haven’t bought a used game in a while. But I don’t think money is the issue so much as I love the quality of a new game. I love being able to open the package fresh, and pop the disc into my system and enjoy every second of the newness. Maybe I sound strange to some people, but I certainly appreciate the feel of a new video game. I feel like, even though they’re meant to work perfectly, with a used video game, you’re more likely to run into problems, such as scratches, or something along those lines. It’s worth the extra 10 or 15 bucks to buy it brand new off the shelf. So that’s what I like to do. Also, supporting the game developer is more important to me than supporting Gamestop, or another video game retail store. I always want to help the developers in any way I can. I agree with you when you say it’s similar to download a song online. I’ve more prone to going to Target or something to buy the CD myself, just to support the artist. Maybe that’s just how I am. But I’m all for buying new games. 🙂

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